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June 15th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership launched today a new programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation for greater food and nutrition security in Africa.

The Afrisoils programme aims to increase soil productivity in 47 African countries by 30 percent, and reduce soil degradation by 25 percent in the next ten years.

Africa is the second driest continent, with nearly half of its surface made up of desert, and 40 percent of it affected by desertification.

About 65 percent of the continent’s farm land is affected by erosion-induced losses of topsoil and soil nutrients. If soils are severely damaged or lost, they are very difficult and costly to restore and rehabilitate.

On top of this, less than half of Africa’s land is suitable for agriculture, and of this, only 16 percent is of high quality.

Faced with these challenges, despite progress in improving agriculture, Africa as a whole remains largely food insecure, directly affecting 70 percent of its population who rely on the little available land to grow food and make a living. Read more